Did you know that, on any particular problem, roughly 80% of your learning comes after you have picked the answer? Turns out, we do not learn much while in the process of doing a problem, especially when the clock is ticking. We are just trying to remember (and use!) everything that we learned before we started working on that problem.
Afterward, though, we can take all the time we want to figure out how to get better—that is where we really learn. Did I understand what they were asking? Did I know how to do the math or reasoning necessary to get to the answer? Is there a more efficient way to do that work? Did I make any mistakes or fall into any traps? If so, which ones and why? How could I make an educated guess?
In a nutshell: if you are not spending at least as long reviewing a question as you spent doing it in the first place, then you are not maximizing your learning.
Take a look at this article: How to Analyze a Practice Problem. It contains a list of questions to ask yourself when reviewing a problem. Take note of a couple of things:
– Yes, you still ask yourself these questions even when you answer the question correctly.
– No, you do not need to ask yourself every single question for each problem you review; choose the most appropriate questions based upon how the problem went for you.
Want some examples of how to do this? Glad you asked. Below, you will find links to articles containing an analysis of a sample problem for each of the six main question types. Happy studying!
How to analyze the following: